12/23/2006

Joy of Christmas...

Christmas is first of all about God coming into our world. He becomes one of us in this Child. Christmas is God's gift in his Son, Jesus, who calls each of us to conversion. The Child whom Mary contemplates is a gift, a perfect offering, a fragile presence at risk because of the many cares of life. He is there as an invitation to be welcomed, waiting for our response, while respecting each person's liberty.

We can never fully understand the tremendous mystery of the Incarnation by which Christ shares our human nature. The Incarnation is a manifestation of God's interest in us. It witnesses that divine love and mercy for all humanity which has no regard to race or social status. The Son of God became one of us in the humility of the stable. "Though he was in the form of God, he did not regard equality with God as something to be exploited," the Apostle Paul tells us (Philippians 2.6). Christ comes to save us from sin and death.

At Christmas, God enters our lives so we may enter divine life. Humanity was looking to be saved, and God sends us a child! Humanity was hoping for the extraordinary, and God comes in everyday life. Humanity was waiting for something on which to lean, while God has need of us - the need for a mother to give nourishment and a father to provide protection. God not only needs us - God comes to live in us. By his Spirit, he comes among us so as to be present to our world. The good news is not only Emmanuel, God is with us, but God in us and God living in us.

Christmas certainly is an opportunity for joy and cheer, but most of all we need to welcome the Child in the manger. In this Child we already see the mystery of the death and resurrection of Christ, and recognize the promise of the Eucharist, the gift of God for the life of the world.

May we experience the real joy of Christmas and what is truly its good news.

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